How many bacteria in a doner kebab?

How many bacteria in a doner kebab – Bristol University Student finds out the hard way

I was talking to her indoors about her sisters son who’s at Bristol University who just had a nasty run in with Gastroenteritis following a ‘delicious’ late night snack of a donar kebab (despite repeated warnings from his mum) after consuming a quick ten pints at the student union bar. This nasty ailment is an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract involving both the stomach and the small intestine and resulting in acute and sometimes violent diarrhea . The inflammation is caused most often by infection resulting from with certain viruses bacteria or their toxins. Worldwide, inadequate treatment of gastroenteritis kills 5 to 8 million people per year mainly children under five. The lad was actually quite ill with his attack and was bedridden for three weeks.

In case you missed it last time I feel the need to share one of those interesting facts one comes across concerning this perennial favourite of drunks and layabouts after a night on the town and following consuming a skin full of lager; the donor kebab. I do think it is related you need to be drunk to be daft enough to eat this stuff. A recent analysis of the contents of yer average kebab showed about 60% was moisture, 20% a protein resembling meat 15% fat, 3% ash(??) and nearly 2% salt. It was the make up of the protein that caught my eye (no not the occasional horse or cat meat) but the vast colonies of bacteria that take up residence in the salmonella on a stick in the shop window. Psychotropic bacteria, leading the roll call of nasties with coliforms (the bacteria from mammalian poo) mould and yeast coming in with honourable mentions. Now you measure the presence of such things as bacteria by the colony forming units per gram measure (CFU/g) where each single CFU contains around 10 to 20 million bacteria (oh joy) even better is the numbers found in in Kebabs at 5log10 CFU/g which is about 100,000 CFU’s or about 10,000,000,000,000 bacteria per average portion of Kebab. As a matter of pure interest there is even more bacteria CFU/g in turkey kebabs (Bootiful as Bernie from the bird flu sanctuary in Norfolk would say) – mainly due to the slaughtering and collection process that literally vacuums every scrap of meat from the deceased animal’s carcase.

Now I’ve always remembered the revolting smell that comes for free with a kebab – my first encounter many years ago was when a colleague brought one into the office to eat at his desk and was told in no uncertain terms by our boss – ‘to get that stinking crap out of here or yer sacked’. So I have always said that anything that smells that bad cannot be good for you (or your career) – and yup my cousin has just found that out for himself – although to be fair after a skinful at the uni bar I doubt he had the intellectual wherewithal to know what he was eating.

Talking of nasty smells I came across this nice word: Osmophobia – the fear of foul odours and nasty smells that often occurs when listening to labour politicians explain their innocent mistakes in accepting illegal funding for election campaigns or explaining why they claimed expenses for porn videos.


Here is a nice picture of a bacteria magnified sqillions of times: